Tuesday, 19 May 2015

My favourite Chelsea Gardens 2015

It's Chelsea Flower Show again this week and as usual, I have been watching the BBC coverage of the event.  I have never managed to visit in person and one year I really must actually go, but, until then, I'll make do with watching the TV and looking at the website.  All the photos are from the rhs Chelsea website which is a really good overview of the show and gardens.  For the past few years, I have written a blog post about the gardens which appeal to me, so I'll continue that tradition.  Above is Dan Pearson's evocation of Chatsworth with enormous boulders from Derbyshire.  It looks as though it has always been there and it isn't surprising that it won best in show.
 Matthew Wilson's garden had some lovely plants, with a jolt of orange among the pastels and I like the curly seating.
 The Perfumer's Garden was designed to show a slightly overgrown garden in France, once used for perfume creation and has a very romantic look.
 Chris Beardshaw's garden really appealed to me despite the formality of the hard landscaping and edging...
...as it was softened by the exuberant and beautiful jewel coloured planting.  This garden is going to be part of a community garden in Poplar, East London.

More flashes of orange in the Sentebale garden, designed by Matthew Keightley.  

In the smaller artisan gardens, the Breast Cancer Haven garden looked just that - a haven - with a huge seat in the shape of an oak leaf for lazing on. Even in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Chelsea, it looks a relaxing place.
The Trug maker's garden shows more beautiful planting with vibrant colours.
 The Evader's garden is described as: "Stan Everiss, the designer’s father, was an RAF evader who was helped to freedom by ordinary French citizens after being shot down in 1943. Inspired by these acts of selfless bravery, the garden’s design reflects the bond between helper and evader.

A sculpture of a young pilot, seconds after parachuting into France, hides in the ruins of a war-damaged church. His eyes look up to a stained glass window where two young French people are reaching out to help him. The wall has a code poem engraved into a tablet, as well as the names of Resistance fighters, many of whom lost their lives during the war. A mass planting of perennials and annuals surrounds the sculpture as nature reclaims the abandoned church."

The sculpture is particularly impressive as it seems to melt into the wall, perfectly describing the 'evading' of the title.  He's there, but then he isn't.
This is one of my favourite parts of the garden - the planting around the stone.
As usual, my favourite gardens are informal, with curved lines (except for Chris Beardshaw's garden) and exuberant planting, including splashes of bright colour.  I look forward to seeing more of the gardens on TV through the rest of the week.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

A new shed (and the last views of the tulips)

My rather wonderful (and kind and lovely and thoughtful!) husband, Chris, has made me (well, us) a new shed, using mainly recycled materials.  It is the poshest shed I have owned!  The old shed needed to be replaced as it had rotted and was leaning at a rather drunk angle.  This new version is built to last and will be a practical working space, right at the end of the garden, opposite the lilac tree. Thanks, Chris, I love it!
 It has metal shelves on one side, opposite the window and lino on the floor...
 and a stainless steel potting bench on the other side, under the window.
 I have the exciting job of deciding what is going where now. All the things stored in the old shed have been on the patio under a plastic sheet while construction was going on, and I am going to enjoy sorting it all out (I think!).  I thought I had better take some photos of it before I fill it up again, as it will never be quite this tidy again...
Here are the last photos of this year's tulips.  I have been looking to see what I may like to have next year.  Ballerina will definitely feature again!
 These are the tulips in tubs at the front - a single early and single late mix.  Orange and white have featured here.
This is one which appeared in my last post but the colour has moved into the petals more now.
 The lilac in the back garden is looking and smelling lovely.
 Blueberry Blue Pearl is also flowering and I have seen lots of bees around it.  I hope this means a good harvest in the autumn.
I couldn't resist a last look at Ballerina and Red Shine, enjoying the sun this morning.  Beautiful!

Saturday, 2 May 2015

In the garden...

 The tulips in the garden are looking lovely although some are starting to go over now.  The photos were taken a few days ago, when it was sunny.
 Lovely vibrant Ballerina and Red Shine.
 The inside of Ballerina.
 More Ballerina, but these are in the border and are from either last year, or the year before.
 The pink frilled tulip which suddenly appeared in the border last year after an absence of at least five years!
 One of the tulips from the tubs at the front of the house.  There are still some which haven't opened yet, so it will be interesting to see what other colours are there.
 I couldn't resist a close up of the beautiful colouring on the petals.  It looks as though someone has dropped red ink on yellow blotting paper, or coloured the edges with a felt pen and the colour has bled.
 Here is one of my latest purchases - another Lathyrus vernus, but this time, Alboroseus with delicate pale pink flowers.
They are so pretty.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

'Toby's Japanese mouse' - update

 You may remember I posted about my love for 'Toby's Japanese mouse' from the book 'The Children of Green Knowe' by Lucy Boston and how I saw a resin version for sale in the Hemingford Grey shop. I told my friend Rachael about them and she very kindly made me a polymer clay version, which is lovely. You can read my post about it here (you'll need to scroll down the post a little).
Rachael's polymer version
 Well, of course, having seen the mouse was back for sale, I treated myself to one and was very excited when it arrived, accompanied by a hand written note from Diana Boston who is in charge of the house now. I had expressed a wish to see the gardens and she suggested visiting in May or June, so that is on the agenda for us now.
Back to my mouse.  He really is as pictured in the illustration from the book, which is not all that surprising, as the mould was was taken from the original.
 Even with the shiny black eye.
 Underneath, you can see his tail and the soles of his feet with his toes peeping over the top of his tail.
So now my first mouse has a friend and I am delighted with them both.  Somehow, I feel as though I have a tangible link to this magical story which captivated me when I was a child and has stayed with me.  I still read the book every December.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

For all of us beginner sewing machinists...

This was posted up by a friend and it made me laugh, so I have unashamedly put it up here too. Anyone who has wrestled with an unfathomable sewing machine manual will have some sympathy... you are not alone!

Friday, 24 April 2015

Tulips everywhere!

Well, perhaps the title of this post is a slight exaggeration, but lots of tulips will feature in this post.  The one above is in a pot at the front door, in a single mix and is a delicate pale peach/apricot.  I really enjoy seeing what is in the mix, but the downside is that if you particularly like one of the flowers, it is quite difficult to find out what it is, without doing lots of research.
This is the large tub which featured before but which only had purple and white tulips at that time.  As you can see, other more fiery colours have joined the display now.
 These are hiding at the back, but I thought they deserved a photo by themselves.  The browny/pink one has a very unusual colour combination.
 My favourite bright orange (and scented) Ballerina tulips.  However, there seem to be some reds in there too.  I don't think I mixed them up when I planted them, so perhaps this is an unintentional mix provided by the tulip bulb company.
 Here is dark purple Ronaldo with paler pink Don Quichotte.  I like this combination.
 These are supposed to be perennial bulbs, so once they have finished, I'll save them and replant them.
This Ballerina tulip is in the border and is either one or two years old.
For anyone who has had a surfeit of tulips (which is not possible for me, but perhaps you may not be such a big fan as I am), here is a self-seeded cerinthe which I rescued last autumn (it was growing where the new shed was going to be and I wanted to save it from being squashed).  It has grown well and rewarded me with lovely early flowers.  Bees buzzing around have also been pleased to find it  (its common name is honeywort).

Sunday, 19 April 2015

This week in the garden...

,..this was the view over to the Poplar trees.  A grey, rain laden sky behind, but beautiful sun in front, illuminating the trees and making them look fiery and amazing.
I love looking at these trees and seeing the seasons change their appearance.  You wouldn't think we were in the middle of a city, would you?
 Looking up again, this time into the flowers of an Erythronium 'Pagoda', with its lovely upswept petals.
 Looking up again, into the bluest of blue Spring skies, with Magnolia Susan (who features a lot on my blog in April), with a lilac tree behind.
Another tub of tulips delighting me with their colour.  This is Ronaldo, with Don Quichotte yet to flower. It is so hard to be patient!
 Another view of the blue sky with the Magnolia and Lilac...just because they are pretty!
 More tulips from the single mix.  There are a couple of other types in the mix, but they aren't quite in flower.
 Here is something I am really excited about.  This is a Patio Peony, specially designed for pots, called 'Athens' and should have pink flowers.  I bought it earlier in the year and have watched it gradually start to grow, but didn't really expect anything except leaves this year.  As you can see, there are buds - I think there are four.
The plant has lovely glossy green leaves, and the promise of a beautiful flower. I have also got 'Madrid', a white flowered peony, which is just starting to unfurl its leaves, so has a way to go yet. Patience, patience!